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Strategic Planning Process: Goal 4

Alexandria is a Community with Public Schools Amongst Northern Virginia’s Best and Where Our Recreational Programs Provide Youth the Opportunity to Succeed

Children, Families & Youth Workgroup

  • Council Members: Rob Krupicka & Alicia Hughes
  • Lead Staff: Jim Spengler

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The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, created in 1984 by the Intercultural Development Research Association, is an internationally recognized dropout prevention program that has kept 98% of its participants (as many as 29,000 students) in school. The program identifies middle and high school students in at-risk situations and recruits them as tutors for elementary school students who are also struggling academically. The program uses tutoring to increase the self-esteem and academic success of both middle and high school students. In turn, it decreases the likelihood of dropping out. Participating schools have realized enhanced basic academic skills, reduced disciplinary referrals and absenteeism, and strengthened school-home-community partnerships.

The program was originally used in five school districts in San Antonio. It was adopted in Britain in 1996 and Brazil in 2002. By 2003, one hundred and eight schools in twenty-four cities in Arizona, California, New Mexico, New York and Texas as well as sixteen cities in Brazil were successfully using the program. As of 2005 the program had been implemented in fifty schools in eight regions of Great Britain.

The Valued Youth Program uses pre-post-test evaluation that includes quantitative and qualitative measures to gauge student progress. Data is collected via a secured web site. The program was identified as an effective strategy in Show Me the Evidence! Proven and Promising Programs for America’s Schools by Dr. Robert E. Slavin and Dr. Olatokindo S. Fashola (1998). It was one of only two dropout programs at that time that met the prescribed standards of the authors: research-based, rigorous evaluation, active dissemination, and evidence of effectiveness.

Critical to the success of the program is paying tutors for the work they do. The cost of implementing the program in 2004 (based on 25 tutors and 75 tutees) ranged from $150 to $250 per student, which includes staff training, technical assistance, tutor stipends, recognition awards (t-shirts, hats and certificates of merit), and evaluation. School districts utilize the following federal funds to implement the program:

• Title I: Improving Basic Programs, Migrant Education, Neglected Delinquent and At-Risk Youth
• Title III: Language Instruction for LEP and Immigrant Students
• Title IV: Safe & Drug-Free Schools & Communities
• Title V: Innovative Programs

Schools have also formed business partnerships with Coca-Cola Bottlers, other businesses and local civic groups to secure funds.

J. Coachman (47) | User | November 6, 2009 - 4:22 PM

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